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POLL: Would You Support a Plastic Bag Ban in Contra Costa County?

Alameda County's ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Starting next year, every store selling packaged foods in Alameda County will no longer provide its customers with single-use bags.

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority announced Tuesday that none of Alameda County's 14 cities chose to overrule the ban. Local jurisdictions were given until March 2 to opt out of the ordinance.

“We’re proud to have led this historic countywide effort,” said Gary Wolff, StopWaste.Org Executive Director in a press release. “The ordinance will not only reduce waste to landfills and protect waterways, but also save money for local governments by reducing litter.”

The ordinance prohibiting single-use bags go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Recycled-content paper and reusable bags could be provided by retailers, but only at a minimum cost of $0.10 per bag to customers, the press release states. But that cost will rise to $0.25 per bag on Jan. 2, 2015 if the county board finds that the $0.10 charge does not efficiently discourage single-use bags.

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority passed the ordinance on Jan. 25 with reason to believe that restricting the distribution of single-use bags could lower pollution. 

Our question to you:

Here in Contra Costa County, plastic bags aren't banned. But ... would you support such a ban?

More from the press release: Alameda County waterways threatened by trash and plastic pollution  In 2007, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board declared five waterways in Alameda County – Strawberry Creek and Cordonices Creek in Berkeley, Sausal Creek and Damon Slough in Oakland, and San Leandro Creek in San Leandro – so polluted with trash that they violate the federal Clean Water Act. As part of Coastal Cleanup Day, volunteers reported removing almost 4,500 plastic bags from Alameda County creeks and shorelines in 2010.

Alex Gronke (Editor) March 15, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I'm baffled by the attention given to shopping bags as an environmental issue. When you can go to Trader Joe's and buy a pound of beef for $1.99 and a bottle of imported Italian wine for $2.99, it's not the bags that are an environmental issue, it's what goes into them. Giving up plastic bags is easy. Are we willing to give up cheap food?
Anne Mobley March 15, 2012 at 04:07 PM
This is another attempt by a non-elected body to encroach into our lives with more regulations. This would be devastating to business and would cause unnecessary expense. Plastic is a by product of the oil industry and was a way to recycle waste from that industry. I guess instead of this, they would be in favor of cutting down more trees to make paper bags?
Claire Voyance March 16, 2012 at 12:05 AM
No, but I would support a ban on dumb ideas from overpaid idiots working at Special Districts.
Frances Vaught March 16, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Yet again this topic show just how behind our country is. In Europe, you either bring your own bags or carry it out.
Chris Kapsalis March 16, 2012 at 02:17 PM
This isn't as simple as it sounds. reusable bags take a lot more energy to produce. But plastic bags are all over, in the water ways and just trash. Plastic bags Take forever to decompose, and leek toxins into the ground. But reusable bags are not reused as many times as people would have you believe. Also, plastic and paper are reused more than people would have you believe. But in the end I think a more durable reusable shopping bag with some kind of deposit is the way to go. I'm for some kind of incentive for stores to not use plastic bags. Over all they are just bad I think and we need to start thinking outside of the disposable bag so to say. Plus it takes more energy to recycle these plastic bags then not to. Paper even more energy to recycle. Doesn't make sense. Reusable bags are the way to go imo. I have and use Chico bags, but not as much as I should. I guess I am one of those too busy, or too lazy people, who just need the plastic bags taken away before I stop using them completely.
Patrick J. McNamara March 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Because these bags have become so ubiquitous, the consumers have found handy everyday uses for them. Whether it is for bathroom trash can liners, weatherproofing and compartmentalizing picnic items or backpack contents, or just re-stuffing them with home grown produce to give away, there is now a market for such bags. Right now they are free, as a part of grocery shopping. If they go away, they will be replaced with the 100 bag box (or roll), sold on the shelves along with Ziplock or Kleenex boxes. What will we have accomplished? So, what do we now fill our store-bought (and Farmers Market) produce with?
Cindy Brokman March 16, 2012 at 03:36 PM
It amazes me how easy we fall to the same old..crap...the only reason they want to ban bags is so they can charge us for them. When will we wise up?
Anne Mobley March 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Have you ever shopped in Europe? They walk everywhere. They don't take cars to the stores because there is no parking. They shop usually every day because they don't have big refrigerators. They need strong bags so they can walk the mile or so back home. Comparing us to Europe is like comparing apples to oranges. I reuse my plastic bags around the house so i agree they are not just used once. Mechants need to be wary of those with reusable bags going into businesses because they can slip whatever they can into them and the merchant really can't ask to see what is in the bag before they leave their establishments. I am against a ban on plastic shopping bags because it will not just stop there.
Michael McGrath March 16, 2012 at 07:00 PM
And it shouldn't stop there. It's a very small step in the right direction. Honestly I don't think they should ban them, but stores should charge a $1.00 bag fee if you don't bring your own bags (plastic, paper or other). My guess is that we'd see a lot more people bring their own bags to the grocery store. We could think of it like CRV for cans and bottles? It's a shame we have to "enforce" doing the right thing for the environment vs. people choosing to do the right thing and not be lazy. I've been using the same re-usable bags for many years now, and if feels good not contributing to waste (as much). Sure, there are lots of other wasteful areas- like product packaging, but one step at a time. That's my 2-cents.
Barbara Fiorica March 16, 2012 at 09:26 PM
I'm with Patrick McNamara on this. Besides items that he mentioned, I also save and reuse the plastic bags for items that I am recycling. I always find it amusing that, in order to save the environment, we not only give up freedoms, but end up paying extra for giving them up.

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